Abandoning standard notions of argumentation and political positions, this book seeks to demonstrate that the essential purpose of political campaign discourse is to transform the affections of their audience. It examines the discourse of candidates as a narrative: the characters are on stage, they engage in various deeds, they fight, the plot thickens, new developments occur, and a narrative is constructed which, in a presidential election, can be interpreted as a narrative about the nation.
The effectiveness of this narrative depends upon the ability of the narrator (the candidate) to make it appear true, and to mobilize the passions of those listening (the voters). It is here that we discover the use of the "intimate truth" of the candidate and the increasing space devoted to the emotion of the moment, confining enduring political passion to the forgotten recesses of history. Henceforth, this narrative mosaic made visible by an ever-increasing array of media makes the decision problematic right up to the ultimate deliberation of the voter alone in the polling booth.
This work is a valuable decoding of the words and communication strategies used by political candidates.
Denis Bertrand lectures in French literature at the University of Paris-8-Vincennes-Saint-Denis. Alexandre Dézé is a doctoral student in political science and a part-time lecturer at Sciences Po Paris. Jean-Louis Missika is a consultant and teaches at Sciences Po Paris.